Better Nutrition

HOW OFTEN?

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Over the past 30 years, our health care system has done a good job at raising awareness about cervical cancer risks. Regular, annual PAP smears have dramatical­ly reduced deaths from cervical cancer in the past two decades. But a few years ago, amid controvers­y, the American College of Obstetrici­ans and Gynecologi­sts revised its PAP screening recommenda­tions— women were told they only needed PAP screenings once every 2– 3 years, depending on individual risk factors, as opposed to the previous recommenda­tion of once annually. I tell most of my married patients ( or those in committed relationsh­ips) that they no longer need annual PAPs. However, I offer a pelvic exam to palpate the ovaries every 2– 3 years, particular­ly during ages 40– 60 when ovarian cancer, for which there is still no good screening test, peaks.

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